Star tennis players Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are set to represent India in the women's doubles category in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, slated to get underway from July 23. The 34-year-old Sania will become the first female athlete to represent India at four Olympics when she competes at Tokyo 2020.
Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Friday took to Twitter to congratulate the pair ahead of the Games. "I congratulate @mirzasania and @ankita_champ, who will represent India in Women’s Doubles Tennis at #Tokyo2020 after entries were officially announced. This will be Sania’s 4th Olympics while it will be Raina’s debut. All the best to them," he wrote.
“Ankita is a hard-working, sincere girl. She spent some time with me right before the Billie Jean King Cup," Sania had recently told Olympics.com.
“The first time I met her she was maybe 14 or 15. And she’s very disciplined, which is her biggest strength. I have never gone into the Olympics with a fellow female Indian player who is top-100 in the world. It’s really good to play with someone who is on the tour regularly. She has a long way to go. But at least she’s there, playing every week and kind of understand the level.”
Sania had teamed up with Sunitha Rao in Beijing 2008, Rushmi Chakravarthi in London 2012 and Prarthana Thombare in Rio 2016. This will be the first time when she will have a partner who is also ranked in the top-100.
Sania and Ankita, currently plying their trade in the Wimbledon 2021, will take on each other in the first round of mixed doubles on Friday. While Sania is paired up with Rohan Bopanna, Ankita has teamed with Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Earlier, Sania and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands started their latest campaign at Wimbledon by stunning the sixth-seeded pair, Alexa Guarachi of Chile and Desirae Krawczyk of the USA. The duo advanced to the second round with a comprehensive 7-5, 6-3 win.